I am writing in relation to your walking and cycling portfolio on Wellington City Council.
I live and work in Wellington, and mainly travel around town by bicycle. In the 18 months I have been cycling I have noticed a big increase in the number of people cycling as a means of transport. However I see very little in the way of infrastructure development to support increased participation in cycling. I have read the councils cycling policy document. While there is little in this I wish to disagree with, as far as I can tell it amounts to words only, with very little action.
I am aware that the council is reviewing parking policy. I see parking, and the volume of private motor vehicles in the city as very closely linked to the perception of Wellington as a dangerous place to cycle. Cheap and lenient parking regulations will simply encourage more cars into the city centre. This is not the vision I have as a clean, welcoming, liveable and visitable city.
I would like to suggest that the changes in parking policy could be coupled to improvements in cycling infrastructure. There are several busy roads where I feel kerbside parking should be removed completely and the space used for a dedicated cycle lane. These streets are: Kent and Cambridge Terrace, Riddiford Street, Courtenay Place, for starters.
Another suggestion is to switch the position of parked cars and cycle lanes so that the cycle lane is next to the footpath. Parked cars are a real hazard to cyclists, as drivers commonly open doors into the path of cyclists without looking. Our current road lay out sees cyclists placed between the parked cars and the traffic stream. Why not position the cycle lanes between the footpath and the parked cars, and allow the parked cars to protect cyclists from moving vehicles? We are currently using cyclists to protect the parked cars from the moving ones!
I don’t believe that buses and cyclists sharing the bus lanes is safe at all. The vehicles on the road that I feel most threatened by as a cyclist are buses.
I know so many people who would love to cycle for short trips or commuting, but are discouraged by the apparently dangerous roading environment. The City Council has a real opportunity to show great leadership here, and create a great pedestrian and bicycle friendly city.
Please would you let me know what you, and the council will be doing to create a pedestrain and cyclist (i.e. people) friendly environment. I have read the Cycling Policy document, so would appreciate a considered response.
Thanks for your email. As you may be aware this is a new portfolio and as I’m also chair of the Funding and Activities working party, I will respond in more detail once we have completed our review but in the mean time I will be talking to the Mayor and fellow Councillors about your concerns.